CHAPTER - 9
The Artists' Colony of the Ashram was getting to be used more and more by the artists. Usually only the artists who were too poor to pay for their board and lodge elsewhere came to Swami Jitendra and asked for his help and patronage. Jitendra, if he found them sincere, promising, and possessed of at least some modicum of talent which he thought, if he gave help, would improve and make a good showing, took them in. At present there were seven painters, all of them junior artists, who had gone well beyond the stage of mere learners, but who still struggled to survive. Some of them looked like ill-clothed artisans and factory workers. Such was the poverty and squalor in which they had lived. Each of them sold four or five pictures a month to some dealer in Agra, Roorkee. Meerut, Lucknow and Benares. But their earnings were just enough to make both ends meet. At times it happened they wouldn't be even able to pay the boarding and lodging charges to the Ashram though the charges were just nominal, minimal. They would then meet the Swamiji and ask for time to pay up the dues. He would smilingly agree.
Sometimes he would himself buy their pictures and pay the money into their own hands. He would pass on these pictures to some dealer he knew. There was a sales depot in the Artists' Colony where the paintings were displayed for sale. The pilgrims and the tourists, mostly foreigners, used to buy at the depot. Sometimes the Art-dealers who came to the Ashram to see the Swamiji used to visit the Artists' Colony and collect pictures from the artists by direct purchase or for sale on commission basis.
Jitendra was a writer of review articles in important newspapers and art journals on leading and upcoming painters and their recent productions. The editors used to frequently ask him for such articles. He would oblige them if he had time. His articles were very valuable and scholarly pieces of writing. They exhibited a high order of critical intelligence. Sometimes he would help the poor artists of the Colony if he honestly felt that their works showed merit through his press reviews. But even learners if they showed unmistakable signs of growing could count on him for such help. Any way most of these pictures were just pot- boilers. But they were sure to produce better and talented works if they were freed of want and starvation. But he was convinced that with continuous encouragement and help each one of them would be able to make the grade in bigger and more sophisticated markets.
Soon the sales started picking up. The artists began to earn more. Jitendra arranged to get loans for them from banks in order to help them put up larger studios and buy costlier painting materials and to undertake travels to meet the dealers and canvas sales. For their convenience Jitendra opened at Ashram expense a set of twelve studios for them at Agra and a shop for sale of their works at the same place. This was because Agra was an internationally famous place because of Taj Mahal and there were always a large number of tourists from various parts of the country and from abroad. The Agra sales center soon became a very busy one. The artists in the Artists' Colony of the Ashram worked part of the time at Agra and part of the time in the Colony. Soon a few more painters joined and some of them seniors with knowledge and venturesome ideas. Jitendra felt that they could guide the junior artists as well as show their own talent in advanced painting. But they too had had no sufficient wherewithal and proper encouragement. They all found in Jitendra a true savior and a dedicated promoter of Art. They were impressed and felt very thankful for his compassion and such abiding interest in them. Jitendra never wanted genuine talent to go waste.
He usually went around the Artists' Colony once or twice a week and saw what was happening in the sales depot. Sometimes when he was out on travels he would not be able to see it even for a month or two. There was one such visit due and pending for more than two months. One day he took up this round through the Colony and the shop. He was shocked to find that there were about twenty Nudes kept for sale. He asked each one of the concerned artists if they brought the models to the Colony or they painted them elsewhere. They all denied having brought the models into the premises. But he had his own suspicion. The menials of the Ashram and one or two disciples remembered having seen occasionally a woman or two, sometimes even three or four, around the colony premises. But they weren't sure if they were models. They might have possibly been their wives or sisters on a visit to see them. But Jitendra felt indignant. True, they might have painted the Nudes in other places. But that did not justify them to hang up these pictures in the Ashram premises for sale. The Ashram and all the grounds it owned were religious places. How did they have the conscience to sell Nudes here? Would it not compromise the sanctity as well as the reputation of the place. Keeping Nude paintings and displaying Nude women were the same as far as the Ashram was concerned. It was an act that defiled the place. An act of sacrilege, of pollution. He asked the artists to remove at once all those Nudes. They could take them and dispose them of elsewhere. Not merely that, any painter who believed in painting Nudes had no place in the Ashram Colony. Such artists wouldn't be admitted. Neither should the Nudes be kept secretly in their boxes and the cupboards of their rooms. If this rule was infringed, he would see that all those Nudes were torn to pieces. If any painter was interes ted in painting Nudes he was welcome to vacate the Colony. They would be given a week's time.
His feelings ran high. He was in frightful temper. The pilgrims and the devotees and the visitors would think that this was a brothel and not an Ashram. They would think that there was immoral traffic behind a religious facade.
He made a visit to the Agra shop. There it was worse. There too he issued the same instructions and warning. The artists began to resent the action and attitude of the Swamiji. They had begun to make some earnings only after they started painting the Nudes. Good money was regularly flowing in. They thought they could not survive unless they painted Nudes. But they could not survive in the Ashram Colony if they painted Nudes. That was a very grievous state of affairs. Outside the Colony they could not exist as artists. They were so poor and if they were to eat they should go in for manual work on daily wages. Such was the condition of many artists.
The artists began to argue that Nude painting too was Art like the painting of landscapes, still life, portraits, buildings, street scenes and the like. It was an academic, impersonal and intellectual and moral exercise. An artist brought a certain view to bear on the female anatomy. It was something to be appreciated and enjoyed through one's moral sensibility and a esthetic taste. It was neither vulgar nor carnal. Nor was it sensual in its degraded sense. It was a branch of Art and great masters had painted Nudes down the ages, and had become famous and immortal through their Nudes, at any rate some of them. These Nudes are insured for millions of dollars and pounds by the museums. But Jitendra didn't relent and wouldn't relent. Some of them agreed to abide by Jitendra's conditions because they had no choice. But others quitted in angry protest.
Three of the most famous painters of the country, one by name Roshan Mehta, another Vivek Bhatia and still another by name Sri Kanta Nayar took up the cudgels against the unmeaning attitude of the Swamiji. It was against all reason and a sin against Art. They wrote a long letter to him dwelling at length on the theory and practice of the Art of Painting since the time before Renaissance. They said that Nude painting was a branch of the Painting Art that had been held in high esteem by great painters, philosophers, literary men and even by saints and had been patronized by kings, queens, dukes, aristocrats and millionaires with a high standard of culture and famous museums all over the world. Even Indian sages had approved it. The erotic sculptures of Konarak and Khajuraho and the erotic paintings of Tantric Schools of India were not the works of unbelievers and godless cranks. If any one opposed the painting of the Nude, then he was not a promoter of Art but an enemy of Art. They said that painting the Nude, viewed from the highest standpoint, was an act of Bhakthi, a devotional act, a worship and homage to the power of God infused in the corporeal structure of a female. There was no sex in a Nude painting unless there was sex in the mind of the one who judged it.
Not that Jitendra was opposed to their views. Their theories were not without sense, They contained a lot of truth and sanity. He was himself a trained artist and could appreciate all that they said. But they did not apply to a Sanyasin and his Ashram. He could not allow the painting of the Nudes inside the Ashram except at great peril to his status as a Sanyasin and his Ashram as a religious institution. But the arguments of his opponents were otherwise valid, absolutely valid. If he yielded to their stance, then the question would arise why he, a trained and more or less a consummate painter, should not paint Nudes too. He could paint and what was more that he should paint, that was what it would ultimately come to. How could he countenance such a position? The theories his opponents were advancing on the subject of Nude Painting were his own theories he had written in a lengthy article in a September issue of the famous Art Journal, "Preethi Vardhana", Three years before. He had a copy of the particular issue of the Journal, and he showed it to some of the painters in the Ashram Colony. The three famous painters had no doubt thoroughly read and digested his views. They had even used in their letter his very words and sentences.
But painting the Nude had never seemed to him of any special importance even before he took to the saffron-robe. When he was doing research studies in Painting in France and taking courses in the masterpieces of such famous and immortal painters as Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Ingress, Manet, Courbet and Rubens, that painted divinely with uncommon inspiration and talent, he had never had a desire to paint a Nude, though he had painted a number of other subjects and earned appreciation from some of the contemporary masters. Once when in France, he was urged to paint a few Nudes by the artist to whom he was attached and in whose studio he worked, he politely declined. But on a more persuasive goading he had painted one or two. But from the beginning he had an uneasiness, a sense of guilt, a fear that he was committing a sin. But he knew he could keep his heart and soul free of the least stain of sex. But still his orthodox religious breeding had taught him that seeing a woman naked was the worst of sins. And even a husband was subject to certain restrictions on this score. A woman's body was a treasure in which the power of God was concentrated as an inestimable mystic property. That was why some of the Hindu sages worshipped at stated times their own wives as Goddesses. That practice had a very deep meaning. It was transcendental sex and had nothing to do with the senses and the vital drives of the body. A woman when seen through the spiritual eye was not a woman at all but a consolidation of the Imponderable and the Unknowable. They held in their depths a particle of the Brahmic substance.
He had three models who posed one after another. One was by name Gervaise, another was Veronica and the third one was Wilda Fecunda. They were all beauties. He knew his work was just academic. It was just Art and Aesthetics, and nothing else. He could even think that painting them in the Nude was a divine act. He had asked the models not to throw away all their clothes at once, but to strip them in stages according as he instructed them. He made a few sketches. Since his religion had predominated, he had felt absolutely no sex. He was all the time in an elevated consciousness of exploiting material for his Art rather than opening up his senses to feed on their features. Soon he had lost the mood and the work had remained unfinished.
The book stall of the Ashram was housed in a two-room apartment that had a hall in which the books were displayed in racks. It was removed from the main building of the Ashram by about hundred and fifty feet. The cowshed and the Akbar Kahn's residence stood within about fifty feet from the book stall. The book stall faced south while the main building of the Ashram faced east. The Ashram precincts were within a well marked enclosure consisting of wooden poles and flower bushes. The disciple Raghunath who was in charge of the book stall needed assistance particularly during peak hours. Fatima, Akbar Khan's daughter, willingly gave all the help he needed. She often sat on a stool inside and wrote out the cash bills while Raghunath passed on the books to the buyers across the counter.
Sometimes Fatima took over from him the entire work when Raghunath had to be on some other duty. When she felt idle she took some book at random and occupied herself with reading whatever matter the book contained. She knew it contained things about Hindu religion and nothing else. But still she read through sometimes the whole of the book. It happened at times that she read and finished in a single week three or four. She could keep all that was essential in the books in her memory which was strong and very retentive, and could hold any amount of reading. She didn't know with what a fantastic memory God had endowed her with. She found many of the books interesting. She not merely read. She also thought. She could not of course think like educated elders who knew much about Hinduism, but still she thought and soon found that her own religion Islam taught her almost the same things as far as fundamentals were concerned.
The girl had an active mind that busied itself with ideas, and she loved to debate. She was not a talkative girl, but what little she talked carried sense. And in a polite sort of way, taking care not to offend, she could keep talking even for half hour at a stretch a considerable amount of solid reason. She was a very unusual and resourceful sort of a girl, and from some wise ancestor she had inherited a rich fertility of mind. Akbar Khan was a very superficial and unthinking character, a very shallow specimen of a man that spoke foolishly at time, and talked on impulse. But somehow the girl was very unlike him. If she had had the benefit of more and systematic education, perhaps she would have outdistanced the two of her great uncles who it was said were highly paid professors in Aligarh university. Raghunath was her intellectual companion, and they both discussed religion whenever they had to kill an idle hour or two, She gave a few books on Islam to Raghunath and expected him to read them and then talk to her.
Raghunath used to wonder how she had come to acquire so much reading in Islam. Then she told him that poor girls like her had no other solace in the world than what God could provide them and they had nothing in the world to depend upon except God. And that led her to think of Allah night and day and that in its turn led her to read more and more of Allah which meant learning in her own little way more and more of her religion. What a wonderful girl she was, Raghunath used to wonder. And what a fine and interesting character. She was a sweet girl that could laugh very innocently and engagingly. She soon came to discover Allah even in Hindu scriptures.
Raghunath read all the books on Islam which Fatima gave him. And once he started reading, he could not stop. He was put to the necessity of thoroughly assimilating the contents. For Fatima would, when she felt like it, drag him in to light converse and then lead him on to discuss more and more of serious things about religion. And he did not wish to be found wanting or below par. He too found that many of the Islamic concepts applied to Hinduism too and on many things relating to the soul of Man and his salvation both the religions thought alike. Raghunath by now could recite from memory many passages from Koran and other Islamic classics. They had now both a more enlightened understanding of each other's religion.
Fatima's poverty showed through her clothes and looks, but her goodness and virtue shone through. She had a conviction that moral purity and uprightness was an important thing in the world as well as in one's life. One might find them not useful always but it was the only thing that gave meaning to life and sustained one through the battles of existence. After all one should have an image of oneself that would please oneself. And one should not form an image of oneself in order to please others and for the sake of others. That meant one should own oneself instead allowing oneself to be owned by others.
She helped her mother with household chores, she tidied up the little abode, she scrubbed the vessels and the floors, and dusted the windows. She loved the cows and cleaned the cowshed. Her mother, a frail sickly woman, though only forty, had an exhausted look. She could not do hard work, and she coughed sometimes awfully. It was in between her duties at home Fatima came to the book shop. Sometimes she had no leisure at all. Sometimes she had plenty. The book stall was her only diversion.
Once in a while Jitendra would walk into the book stall. Sometimes he would find Fatima sitting in a chair or stool and poring over some book. He wouldn't like to disturb her. He would walk guardedly as on padded feet, or would stand a little away, directing on her a tender amused look. He was already aware she had been reading avidly the books in the stall and had become well acquainted with the basics of Hindu religion. The books were all meant for popular use which common people could easily understand. Books on the abstract side of Hinduism were very few. The books therefore hardly contained anything that was beyond her grasp. But still there were books too that were meant for scholars but still which ordinary people with some education could understand if they had some religious orientation. Fatima could recite many Slokas from Bhagavad Gita, Adi Shankara's Viveka Choodamani, the sayings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and portions from the Ramayana of Tulsidas. She had read five books of Vivekananda. She had studied up to school final and her English and Hindi were well above the mark. Jitendra had often prayed for her. He had asked of God to bless her with all the good things of life.
The girl would become suddenly aware of the Swamiji's presence. She would get up from her seat with a start and with bowed head make him a Namaskar, the Hindu style of a salute. She would be very sparing of speech out of respect for the Swamiji. But he would encourage her to talk and lead her on to talk something about her life at home, the health of her mother, of her religion and about what she knew of Hinduism and the like. Then she would talk very genially, and with a surprising openness of heart. She would put him questions and laughingly differ from him when he answered. She had read the lives of many Hindu saints as she had read of Muslim saints, and had stacked her memory with many episodes of their lives. She knew about Karna, Arjuna, Dhronacharya, a lot about Lord Krishna, all these things were from the great epic Mahabharatha. She knew much from Ramayana too. She knew almost everything about Hanuman, Guha and Vibhishana, Ravana and his wife Mandothari. She was a great admirer of Sita, Lord Rama's consort. She said that Rama had done her a great injustice in asking her to come out of the fire. He was also wrong in sending her to the forest. She offered her own reasons and they sounded delightful.
Fatima was a girl of average height and of a spare build. She had large beautiful eyes and when she felt even slightly nervous her lashes would flutter very wildly. In better circumstances her body would have achieved comelier proportions and would have more attractively filled out. She had, however, well formed features and was possessed of a strange allure that suggested nobility and also something that answered to the fancies of a honestly sex-loving male. This led her later into some unexpected troubles. She was, however, a well-mannered, well-bred girl of extreme self-restraint, very guarded and truthful.
Sheegampur village had become one of Jitendra's prime concerns. It was a village that deserved of his pity more and more. The village had no medical facility whatever, not even a very small dispensary. It had no public well. The people took their water from two small ponds. There would be large puddles, even five or six feet wide, during the rainy season which would contain some water. They would use that water too. Stagnant waters in between the rocks of the mountain that overlooked the village came in handy at times. The village consisted of seven or eight narrow lanes which were called streets. A few of the alleys were used for dumping garbage. People often took ill. Malaria and gastro-enteritis were very common complaints. There was infection of all sorts. There were no regular grocery shops. Hawkers from neighboring towns came twice a week and charged twice the price. Often the villagers would come to the Swamiji and complain of hunger saying that they had had no work for weeks. Jitendra would then arrange for feeding them from the Ashram kitchen.
They would urge him to use his influence with the officials and get them a small dispensary, a good road, some bus facility and a cooperative provision store. There were many officials and legislators who were his devotees, and they would be glad to do his bidding. He moved the officials and there was good response. He contacted the concerned M. L. A. And the M.P. They were only too willing to do whatever the Swamiji wanted. But the Collector didn't have enough funds. Government had allotted very little for the district that year. They assured they would certainly provide all the facilities the villagers wanted next year. But still at the instance of the Swamiji active steps were taken to do what best the Government could do with all the limitations they faced. In the first instance they prevailed upon a prosperous merchant in nearby town to put up a provision shop. A comfortable gravel road was formed for the time being. A bus was to ply twice a week between the village and two towns that were at a distance of about ten miles. A doctor from the Municipal hospital twenty miles away came in a van to the village once a week. A like arrangement was made for a veterinary doctor to visit the village once in a fortnight.
The Ashram cows were all superior breeds, yielding heavy quantities of milk. Friday was usually a great day for them. It was the day when the cows were offered Puja and worship. It was Go-Puja, the worship of the Cow, the Mother. There were five cows in the Ashram. On Fridays the cowshed floor went through a special scrubbing and cleaning. They made on the floor ornamental designs with white-stone powder or rice-flour. It was called `Kolam'. This work was usually done by women. That was the practice. Fatima generally did it. A brass plate with a lump of burning camphor was waved before each cow in great piety. Swami Jitendra would personally conduct the Puja or some disciple would be asked to do it. But in any case Jitendra would be present. The cows would make a note of his presence or absence.
If on any of these auspicious days he was unavoidably absent, the cows wouldn’t cooperate in the conduct of the Puja. They wouldn't eat the dainties, the fruits and the sugar-cooked rice which were usually thrust into their mouths. They knew whether he was present in the Ashram or had gone on tours. If he happened to be present in the Ashram, he would have to be present at any cost. Till then the cows would wait. The disciples would wait. The cows would be decorated with flower-strings and smeared with vermilion powder and sandal paste, incense sticks would be burnt. All would stand together and say their prayers to the Cow-Mother as prescribed in the Shastras. It was a day for paying heartfelt respects to these dear animals which had the status of a Goddess in the Hindu religion. The cows would listen in silence to the Vedic Mantras as they were being chanted. Jitendra would pat and stroke the animals lovingly and the cows would experience a thrill and their entire body would lovingly respond. The satisfaction of the sacred animals would come touchingly on view.
Originally there was only one cow. Then one more was added. A third one was offered to the Ashram as a donation by one Punjabi gentleman, who was childless and whose wife became a mother with a male child, after the couple who had been to see the Swamiji, offered a ceremonial worship to the two cows. The remaining two were donated by the Swamiji's close family friend and well-wisher one Lynda Wallace, a French lady. She also had conducted a Puja to the cows praying them to bless her daughter with a child. The daughter gave birth to twins. That explained the donation of two cows instead of one.
Parasurama Dikshitar was a learned Brahmin of Mysore, a Sanskrit scholar, an orthodox Hindu, an inflexible adherent to Vedic injunctions, and one deeply versed in Hindu Dharma Shastras which were treatises on religious and moral duties of Man. He was a famous discourser on Mahabharatha. He could hold the audience for hours.
Jitendra held him in great respect. He was his close friend. In fact he was more than a friend to Jitendra. Jitendra considered him as his preceptor too. The Dikshitar was a man in his late seventies, but his intellect was undimmed and his voice rang forth. He was a humble man, but had a measure of justifiable pride in his knowledge of the scriptures. He would never suffer anyone who would trifle with him. He was much sought after for religious lectures. That gave him some handsome lucre and he lived on it. He was a friend of the Maharaja of Mysore who had a high regard for him and who, whenever it was necessary, relieved him of his financial worries. He used to invite him off and on, and heard from him expositions of the contents of the great Hindu classics, Yoga Vasishta, and Pancha Dasi, which dealt with how to achieve the dissolution of the individual soul in the cosmic soul.
The Maharaja too was a well-read man in Hindu Vedantic literature. Dikshitar had already written two books for the Ashram. They were the first two volumes containing episodes from the Mahabharatha. This venture was much applauded by everyone, and many wrote appreciative letters to Jitendra. The publication was to close with a third volume. He had finished writing it. He wanted to get a foreword for this volume from the Maharaja. He wrote to Jitendra asking for his consent. Jitendra kept pondering but could not easily decide. For a whole fortnight he was in two minds. He had a feeling that association of persons in power and position with his work might embarrass him at times and prejudice his credit with the public. Besides they might begin to dominate and dictate. And again they were usually hard-boiled materialists and showed interest in religion just as a pastime. But Dikshitar had told Jitendra in his letter that the Maharaja had as much religion in him as Jitendra himself though he didn't wear a saffron-robe. However Jitendra wrote back to Dikshitar expressing disapproval.
One of the Dikshitar's cousin sisters had married an uncle of Jitendra. Thus Dikshitar was closely connected to Jitendra family and had been held in great respect by Jitendra's parents. Dikshitar had known Jitendra as a boy and as a research scholar of Hindu philosophy in Benares Hindu University. With his knowledge and the valuable books he had with him, he had helped Jitendra much in his work. That accounted for Jitendra's immense respect for Dikshitar.
Dikshitar had never approved of Jitendra becoming a Sanyasin. He placed himself squarely and stiffly in opposition to the idea. But Jitendra wouldn't hear. The decision seemed to have an element of fate in it. Dikshitar then withdrew. Dikshitar was like a Siddha, a man with Dhivya Drishti, Divine Sight. He heard a voice tell within him that Jitendra was fated to be a Sanyasin, and as a Sanyasin he would make fame, and found an epoch. A mission had been cast on him by his Maker. Dikshitar kept his thought to himself. His prediction would work out. He would wait.
It was Dikshitar's wish that a meeting should be effected between Jitendra and the Maharaja. Then Jitendra was sure to change his mind. The Maharaja had already heard of Jitendra and his mission from various sources. He had already been wishing to see the young monk, and offer to help him liberally in his efforts. From Dikshitar he had learnt yet more of the great Sanyasin, of his vast learning and of his purity. The Maharaja was looking for an opportunity. So too Dikshitar. The right moment was in sight.
About forty British intellectuals who had constituted themselves into a Free Thinkers Forum were to visit India to learn more of the religion that was Hinduism which Max Mueller had so much praised and out of which sprang the great phenomenon called the Buddha. They had a seven-day program in the city of Mysore. They would be the guests of the Maharaja. They had been allotted one of the State Guest Houses. There would be public lectures in the palace grounds and a seminar inside one wing of the Maharaja's mammoth palace.
On a suggestion from Dikshitar and on his own, the Maharaja wrote a very courteous letter to swami Jitendra inviting him to come and participate in the program. He would be the royal guest and stay in one of the suites in the palace. Jitendra agreed. It was arranged that he should give three lectures on "Gayatri Mantra" Which was supposed to be the quintessence of the Vedas. Jitendra arrived. He was received by the Maharaja with due honor. Jitendra delivered three excellent lectures the like of which the visiting team of intellectuals had never heard. They heaped eulogies on the young Sanyasin. They had stayed spellbound as he spoke.
Jitendra had now understood the Maharaja's deep love of religion and his extensive knowledge of the Hindu Shastras. They both conversed for long hours. They became good friends. Jitendra agreed to the suggestion of Dikshitar to get a foreword from the Maharaja for the proposed publication.
In one of the Maharaja's cars, Jitendra traveled to Chamundeeswari temple which was on the Chamundi Hills within a few miles of the city. He was accompanied by the Dikshitar, some leading trustees of the temple, and a good number of devotees and some prominent citizens. Two or three members of the royal family kept him company in the car. He offered worship at the temple which was fairly well crowded since his visit was considered an important occasion. On his way back, he was caught up in heavy rains. The city of Mysore and all the surrounding towns and villages had hardly seen rains for the past three or four years. It was a cascading rain amid raging winds that howled and squealed. The lashing downpour lasted for three hours. The roads were inundated and a few old buildings gave way. When Jitendra entered his apartment in the royal palace, he was wet all through and dripping. Swami Jitendra was hailed as a harbinger of prosperity to the state of Mysore. He had brought rains with him. He had endless visitors. There were crowds that waited to greet him. Their shouts of joy went up to the skies. He was credited with miraculous powers. Jitendra was surprised and confused. He did not and could not manufacture rains. The rains came on their own. He thanked God for the rains and asked the people too to do the same. Why were they so foolish and so ignorant ?, he wondered. Word went round that he was an avatar of Lord Krishna.
The Maharaja was enormously pleased. True there were coincidences in life. But a few of them seemed to be providentially arranged. This was certainly one of them. The Maharaja's reverence for the monk grew.
The Maharaja offered to make a donation for his work. Jitendra made it known to the Maharaja that a great Mutt was to be set up in Calcutta where about twenty five Sanyasins of high caliber would reside, pursue and propagate the study of the great Vedantic works. They would deliver lectures to the common people as well as to the elite. Would the Maharaja finance the project ?. The Maharaja readily agreed. He gave to Jitendra a draft for rupees ten lakhs.
Jitendra left for the Ashram the next day. The enormous crowds that gathered reminded one of the tidal waves of a raging sea.